Chinese President Xi Jinping Image Credit: AP

The UAE has welcomed the three-day visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping starting next Thursday, his first foreign visit since his re-election for a second term in March.

Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, emphasised the keenness of the UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to develop and bolster relations with China.

In a statement on Thursday, Shaikh Mansour said that Jinping is scheduled to hold talks with His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Talks are expected to focus on ways to strengthen bilateral relations on all levels, given growing strategic cooperation between the two nations.

The talks will also focus on coordination and consultation regarding regional and international issues of concern.

Shaikh Mansour described the visit as an important occasion that reflects the depth and strength of developing relations and the desire to boost and diversify them further in all areas to meet joint goals and aspirations. He expressed his confidence that the visit would result in positive outcomes that would benefit both nations and their peoples.

The Chinese President will be accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes ministers, senior officials and businessmen.

The relationship between the countries has been strong since December 1, 1971 when Shaikh Zayed received word from China recognising the UAE’s independence on that day as a new nation.

Since then, the two countries have never looked back on a growing friendship that was formalised on November 1, 1984 when both countries agreed to open official diplomatic relations.

In December 1989, President Yang Shangkun made the first ever visit to the UAE by a Chinese head of state. Shaikh Zayed reciprocated by visiting China in 1990

Two-way trade between the two countries was pegged at roughly $53 billion (Dh194.64 billion) in 2017.

In early 2016, there were an estimated 4,000 Chinese businesses in the UAE, many linked to Dragon Mart, one of the largest markets of Chinese products outside of China, and the largest in the region.

The Chinese expatriate community in the UAE is estimated to be more than 200,000 people, the largest in the Middle East and more than 500,000 Chinese tourists visited the UAE in 2015, according to the China mission in the country.